Outdoor Life Online Editor

From the Far East to down east, angler Takahiro Omori had an improbable journey that saw him crowned king of bass fisherman at last week’s CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Late on the final day the Japanese native was able to land three fish that put him 2.75 pounds ahead of second place finisher Aaron Martens.

Omori boated the last fish at 2:12 p.m., but had to be at the scales by 2:30 p.m. Thank goodness those bass boats are equipped with enough horse power to push them through the water at 60+ mph. His total haul over the three days of fishing was 39 pounds, 2 ounces. The tournament was held on North Carolina’s Lake Wylie, which lies just outside of Charlotte.

In 1992 Omori moved from Japan with the sole purpose of succeeding in the world of professional angling. His English was non-existent and he had one friend. But over the last 12 years Omori has time and time again proven his prowess on the bass waters. This is, however, his first Classic victory. He is also the first non-American to take the trophy.

The paycheck is certainly nothing to complain about. When the dust settled, Omori took home nearly $200,000. Still, when your life is nothing but bass fishing, winning the Classic counts for a lot more than the cash.